Monday, March 22, 2010
You may recognize this from last weeks Coast to Cote.
Last weekend I went to Paris for a quick day trip with a few friends. I had planned on doing mostly museums for the day and getting some good food (which I did. Pad Thai is not to be had in Limoges so I profited in Paris). As we were driving into the city (we entered from the south) I recognized the Catacombs. Ryan and I had tried to visit them when he was in Paris in October and were bitterly disappointed to find them temporarily closed due to vandalism. When I saw a healthy line stretched out from the door of the Catacombs I knew they were open and suggested it to the group, who immediately got on board.
Just your typical dork.
My lovely Scottish lady: Paula
My Columbian room-mate Lizandro
Alexandru: our Romanian friend. We are so multicultural here in Limoges!
Trekking to the bones.
For a long time you walk through long carved out hallways until finally you get to this sign. It reads: Stop! This is the Empire of Death.
When you finally get into the bone section its really dark and hard to take pictures. They wont let you use flash because you might scare the ghosts but most tourists seem to ignore this rule. For the first 5 minutes of walking I was pretty impressed. Then I started feeling oppressed by the sheer number of bones. Its strange how they had them stacked. All you ever see is the thigh bone and the skull. Everything else is piled behind I suppose. I had no idea just how vast this place was. I read that millions of remains have been placed in the Catacombs. Originally the space was a quarry, but when conditions at the cemetery got unhealthy the city of Paris decided to move the bones underground. Im not sure at what point they decided to make them into the carefully stacked piles so people can visit them.
Seeing the Catacombs was definately a different experience but it was different from what I thought it would be. It was pretty humbling actually to see how many people have come before you and to think of all the people that will come after you and that in the end you are just a pile of bones (ashes for me!). The air was a bit moist and stale and after a bit Lizandro and Alexandro made a beeline for the exit to get some fresh air.
Just a tip: Dont bring your children here.